Striking doctors shut down Bor hospital

Striking doctors shut down Bor hospital
Bor Hospital signpost (photo credit: courtesy)

The medical practitioners at Bor State Hospital in Jonglei State yesterday suspended their services and closed the facility.

They discharged all patients except those in critical condition.

The strike has also reached Anyidi, Jalle, Kolnyang, and Pariak Counties Primary Health Care Centres (PHCC) as the health workers serving in the four counties joined the strike. The group also issued a joint statement on Wednesday, demanding incentives for two months to be paid within 72 hours. 

They said their children had been chased out of schools and they were unable to support their families due to delayed payment of incentives.

“With the reference of the above, we are demanding two months’ incentives of September and October to be paid to us immediately,” the statement read in part. 

“With the effect from date 01/11/2021, all the facilities in Bor County will remain closed until our incentives are paid to all staffs. Working without incentives causes a lot of problems. We fail to bring food to the table while we spend time working. Our children have been sent out of school due to failure of paying school fees.”

They said they had closed both the outpatient and emergency departments at the hospital waiting for an immediate response to needs.

Response

In response to the strike, State Minister for Health Atong Kuol Manyang requested the medics to be patient as he said it was a mere misunderstanding that would be ironed out.

She said that Care International had replaced Medicos Del Mundo as the implementing partner which would cater to the needs of the staff and disbursement of drugs.

 “What happened is that the greater Bor, that is Bor South, Duk County, and Twic East had their MDM, as the implementing partners in the area of health. But their contract ended and Care International was supposed to take over in September, so this transition period has caused some delays in terms of paying the incentives,” Ms Atong said.

“The administration is currently talking with the staff to be patient because the ministry is working on it. The delay is not on the side of the government but because of the transition.”

The medics rejected the call from the Health Minister saying that there was no assurance that their needs would be met. 

Dr Gop John, a medical doctor at the pediatric department in Bor State Hospital said they would continue with the strike unless otherwise their incentives were paid. 

 “We shall continue with our strike if our needs are not met. But we have our medical ethics, we shall not leave our patients to die. We shall have those who will look after them as the outpatient department and emergency department will not receive new patients,” she said.

Shortage of drugs

UNICEF received funding from World Bank and contracted Medicos Del Mundo (MDM) as its implementing partner in the state. MDM for the last three months is said to have not provided drugs in the state making work hard in the state.

Health workers have been accused of stealing drugs whenever they send patients to go and buy drugs outside the facility.

Consequently, there were also reports that there had been a lack of drugs for a couple of years.

Meanwhile, Aweil Hospital in Northern Bahr el-Ghazal State has also been reported to be in a dire health situation due to the shortage of drugs in the facility.

According to the sources on the ground, the most affected people are pregnant women and children. 

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